Homemade Pastrami

Andy Anderson !

By
@ThePretentiousWichitaChef

Let’s begin with the right cut of beef, and that would be a brisket from the navel end. The navel end is particularly fatty, and will stand up to the long cooking time.

In a sense, we’re taking a brisket, converting it into a corned beef, and then taking that and converting it into pastrami. The process takes days; however, your participation is minimal: Brine, Rub, Smoke, Steam, Eat.

So, you ready, let’s get into the kitchen.


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Rating:
★★★★★ 1 vote
Comments:
Serves:
6
Prep:
1 Hr
Cook:
24 Hr
Method:
Smoke

Ingredients

4 lb
4 pound beef brisket navel end, trim the fat down to about 1/4 inch

THE BRINE

1 gal
filtered water
6 clove
garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 c
gin (if you don’t have any gin substitute 5 juniper berries)
3 medium
fresh bay leaves, torn into pieces
3/4 c
salt, kosher variety
1/2 c
cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp
curing salt
1 Tbsp
whole black peppercorns, smashed
6
allspice berries, smashed

THE RUB

3 Tbsp
coarsely ground black pepper
3 Tbsp
coriander seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp
yellow mustard seeds
2 medium
dried bay leaves, whole
1/4 c
brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp
sweet paprika
1 Tbsp
salt, kosher variety
1/2 tsp
ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp
ground clove

Step-By-Step

Step 1 Direction Photo

1Chef's Note: I don't have my usual photos for this recipe... except the main photo, and that speaks for itself. YUM

Step 2 Direction Photo

2In addition, if you already have a good corned beef (from a butcher that you trust) You can skip all the way down to step 14, and save three days. But you really need to trust that butcher, when he/she says they have a good corned beef.

Step 3 Direction Photo

3THE BRINE

4Put the filtered water into a large non-reactive stockpot and bring to the boil.

5Add the brining ingredients.

Step 6 Direction Photo

6Chef’s Note: If you are using juniper berries, rub them in your hands to bruise them before adding to the boiling liquid.

Step 7 Direction Photo

7Chef’s Tip: If you are using gin, it’s a good idea to have a glass or two… just to make sure it hasn’t gone bad :-).

8Stir for about 5 minutes (make sure all the sugars and salts have completely dissolved).

9Remove from heat, and allow the brine to cool to room temperature.

Step 10 Direction Photo

10Chef’s Note: You will need a non-reactive container to hold the brisket and the liquid… the stockpot will do fine, but make sure that it is a non-reactive stockpot. Personally, I prefer something glass. I don’t like anything plastic, because chemicals can leach out of the plastic over the long soaking time.

11Add the brisket to the liquid and immerse it completely in the brine.

Step 12 Direction Photo

12Chef’s Note: The brisket will probably float, so use a pie plate or other non-reactive item to weigh it down.

13Place in the refrigerator and wait for three days... four or five, if you have the patience.

Step 14 Direction Photo

14Chef’s Note: You can check it if you want; however, as long as it’s immersed in the brine, you really don’t have to do anything. Just don’t forget it’s in there.

Step 15 Direction Photo

15THE RUB

16Add the pepper, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and the bay leaves to a mortar & pestle, and coarsely grind. Or, you could use a spice grinder.

17Add the brown sugar, paprika, salt, cinnamon, and clove, and thoroughly combine.

Step 18 Direction Photo

18THE PASTRIMI

19Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse, and pat dry.

20Thoroughly, cover the brisket with the spice rub

21Place the brisket (unwrapped) in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Step 22 Direction Photo

22Chef’s Note: We want the brisket to lose a bit of its moisture before putting it in the smoker, so unwrapped is the way to go. In addition, this will help to keep the rub from falling off.

23Remove from the refrigerator.

24Allow it to sit out for about an hour, this will take the chill off.

25Prepare your smoker, and set the temperature to 220f - 225f (104c – 107c).

Step 26 Direction Photo

26Chef’s Tip: Do not be tempted to speed up the process by increasing the temperature… have patience, grasshopper.

Step 27 Direction Photo

27Chef’s Note: The choice of wood will help to flavor the meat; however, with all those other flavors banging around, it probably won’t make that big a difference. With that said, I usually use apple wood.

28Smoke the brisket, until the internal temperature reaches 190f to 200f (87c to 93c).

Step 29 Direction Photo

29Chef’s Note: This process can take up to 12 hours… or more.

30Remove from the smoker, cover with a piece of parchment paper, and then tightly wrap in aluminum foil.

31Place in the refrigerator for 12 hours, or overnight.

Step 32 Direction Photo

32Chef’s Note: Take a couple of bricks and cover them with aluminum foil, and place them on top of the brisket to weigh it down.

Step 33 Direction Photo

33STEAM & SERVE

34Remove from the fridge and steam the meat for about an hour, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 205f (96c).

35Chef’s Tip: It’s important to the tenderizing process to get the meat all the way to 205f (96c).

Step 36 Direction Photo

36Chef’s Note: If you don’t own a steamer, you can always put a rack into a pot, with some water (make sure the water is below the rack). Simmer the water, and the put the brisket on the rack, and cover. Make sure the pot doesn’t run dry.

37Remove from the steamer, and slice thinly perpendicular to the grain of the meat.

Step 38 Direction Photo

38Chef’s Tip: If you cut parallel to the grain, the pastrami will be too chewy. Enjoy.

Step 39 Direction Photo

39Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Greek